53rd Edition — February 9, 2020
American Capitalism is not a static system. It can be shaped to bring out people’s best, or their absolute worst. It can serve great American principles of fairness and egalitarianism, or ruthlessly subvert these principles.From the Book Kindred Spirits by David Graham, page 258.
1. A Management Operating System I Believe In
With no disrespect to the creators of The Entrepreneurial Operating System, Six Disciplines (which is excellent), Scaling Up (or Mastering the Rockefeller Habits), OKRs, The One Page Business Plan, and so many others, there’s one system I’ve been using loosely in my practice for 5 or 6 years, and it’s Working Together which also includes a great pre- and post-mortem meeting rhythm called BPRs or Business Plan Reviews. Working Together is also the title of an out-of-print book by the legendary project manager, James P. Lewis.
Famed CEO Alan Mulally was standing on the shoulders of Lewis under his leadership at Boeing and Ford as he used the insights and teachings of this project manager.
I bring this up because I was amazed when I learned about the new management software system called BPR360 which recently launched. The platform is based on Mulally’s BPR process that he used at Ford during his reign as CEO and an Executive VP at Boeing. But that’s not all – there’s a book.
2. Relentless Implementation
By luck, I stumbled across the book Relentless Implementation by Alan Mulally and Adam Witty earlier this week and read it in about 45 minutes. Witty wrote the preface, and those words could have easily been mine because I’m such a huge Mulally fan. I would not change one iota in that preface.
While I give the short guide a big thumbs up, I perceive that the book will not resonate unless you’ve read American Icon. After I read American Icon, I found myself wanting more from this humble leader that Hoffman wrote about. That lead me to Working Together, The Whiz Kids, and scores of Mulally interviews. If you are one of the odd birds like me fascinated by BPRs, working together, and humble leadership, there’s finally a follow-up guide to Mulally’s process.
My prediction over the next 18 months is that BPR360 will become a platform for coaching, workshops, and other professional management services.
3. An Author’s Favorite Books
When you read a great book or find some excellent writing from an author, do you ever wonder what their favorite books are? I certainly do.
I became familiar with George Anders through his insightful and meaningful answers on the Quora platform. George is the author of 5 books, and he started his writing career at The Wall Street Journal. Currently, he’s a senior editor at large with LinkedIn.
This week, I asked this gifted writer about his 5 favorite business books. You’ll find familiar titles and a couple of others that may pique your interest in this Q&A.
4. Rhetoric and Hot Air
Now that I’m a grownup CFO, I get to participate in marketing meetings. Some are bad. Some are painfully terrible. Some are the kind where you want to walk out after the first few minutes which was the case a few weeks ago.
As my mind was becoming mush after scanning generic reports two marketers were hopelessly trying to explain in a boring meeting full of rhetoric and hot air, I started thinking about the words of one of the greatest marketers from a different era –
Good marketing doesn’t respond to needs. They [marketing] help create the need. People don’t need to buy another suit or dress. They have enough ties in their closet. A good retailer really creates the feeling you have to have this even though you may have enough.
Those are the words from the late Marvin Traub who was the President and CEO of Bloomingdale’s for more than 20 years. The source is from a little-mentioned gem, Kindred Spirits by David Callahan who chronicles a number of fascinating business leaders from the Harvard class of 1949.
While Traub was a great marketer, did he rely on healthy or unhealthy persuasion? As you grow in your financial leadership responsibilities, you will be forced to answer that question head-on as you try to create additional revenues for your business.
5. Key Numbers and the Social Sector
In a moving Ted presentation watched by nearly 5 million viewers, Dan Pallotta states, “Our generation does not want its epitaph to read, “We kept our overhead low.” He nailed it. No, he crushed it. I gave Dan a one-person Standing O when he said that.
As financial leaders, we love our numbers, metrics, and measurements. But as we work with non-profits that bring you and I a sense of higher purpose, consider the wise words of Henry Mintzberg –
Whoever successfully measured culture, leadership, even the potential for a truly new product? And how about measuring the performance of management? We just have to understand that many of the things that matter most in organizations (and in life) cannot be measured … certainly, we have to measure what we can; we just cannot allow ourselves to be mesmerized by measurement―which we so often are.Source: Analyst: Analyze Thyself, August 24, 2016
Thank You For Reading
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Take care and have a great week. Always be learning.